The Sansum Clinic and the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics have worked in concert to provide, so far, 100 free colon-cancer screenings to people without health insurance. If it reaches its goal of providing 1,000 colonoscopies, this sustained effort will be one of the largest privately funded, free colon cancer screenings in the nation, according to its organizers.

But this effort would not have been come into fruition without the help of philanthropist Virgil Elings. Elings contributed by giving $50,000 to Sansum Clinic, and because of the success of the screenings, he has decided to give an additional $150,000 for 300 more screenings.

Although colorectal cancer may not get breast and lung cancer, it has startling statistics. It is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths, according to the American Cancer Society, with one out of every 19 people at risk for developing it. People over the age of 50 are most at risk. General symptoms may include changes in bowel movement and abdominal discomfort like bloating. Rather than self-diagnose, it’s best to consult with a doctor if anything is abnormal. Early screening is vital to prevent any detected polyps from developing.

Patients who meet certain criteria will be referred from the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics to the Sansum Clinic gastroenterology department.

The Sansum Clinic is a California Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation that has clinics ranging from Carpinteria to Lompoc and it includes 150 physicians. To inquire more about the free colon cancer screening program, contact the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics . To make a donation to Sansum, contact Dru Hartley, director of philanthropy, at, (805) 681-7726.


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